UN program in Iraq faces $1.63 billion shortfall
The UN oil-for-food program in Iraq faces a shortfall of about $1.63 billion in the current five-month phase, the United Nations said Tuesday, November 6 after Iraq's oil exports slipped again last week.
The volume exported under UN supervision fell from 14.9 million the previous week to 14.6 million barrels, the office administering the program said.
In the week ending November 2, there were five loadings at Iraq's Gulf port of Mina Al-Bakr and four at the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, the only export outlets authorized under UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990.
The average price of Iraqi crude during the week was about $16.82 (18.58 euros) a barrel and revenue was estimated at $215 million (237 million euros), the office said. Revenue so far in the current phase of the program, which runs from July 4 to November 30, is about 4.96 billion euros, or $4.49 billion.
With the price of Iraqi oil falling from $24.30 a barrel in the past six weeks, the office said revenue for the phase was expected to reach only about $5.38 billion. Only 72 percent of that -- $about 3.87 billion -- is available to pay for imports under the program, compared with a forecast budget for the current phase of $5.5 billion.
Of the revenue, 59 percent is used to purchase humanitarian supplies and oil equipment in government-controlled areas in central and southern Iraq and 13 percent for the northern Kurdish region, where goods are distributed by the UN. Another 25 percent is used to compensate Kuwait for war damages, and the remaining three percent covers the administrative costs of the program and of the UN commission monitoring Iraq's disarmament.
Iraq has sold 240.6 million barrels of crude in the current phase, the 10th since the program was set up in December 1996 to alleviate the impact of sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. Orders are outstanding for another 146.3 million barrels, including two new contracts approved by the independent oil overseers last week, the office said. — (AFP, United Nations)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)